Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Outlands ho!

My monk made it to outlands last night and I'm up to lvl 64. Things finally feel like they're starting to come together with the class.

As usual, I'm doing a great deal of grinding in instances. The level of dumbassery has decreased slightly. Other monks tend to no longer be too much of a problem. As long as I get a hit or two on something, the threat is high enough that I don't worry about them pulling threat.

The class that does tend to cause me the most problems is death knights. They still aren't terribly well balanced in terms of DPS. While most classes will be doing 800ish DPS, DKs will be pulling 1,700. Keeping aggro against that is tricky. At least they're plate wearers and can typically kill something before they are hurting too badly.

Another headache that's cropped up has been a bit more of people not understanding itemization of drops. I've had an appreciable number of tanking items ninja'd from me by DPS. While I can understand something that isn't properly itemized in its stats being an upgrade (I've had several instances where a healing head was just way better than what I was wearing presently), it's always polite to ask the person in your group that could actually use the item if they need it. In the end, it doesn't matter too much since I'll run through every instance 4-5 times and will likely see the drop again, but it's still annoying that there's a lack of altruism in the game.

When I have been questing, I still feel my single target dps is somewhat lacking. I don't mind doing the quests where I just have to pull a bunch of things and kill them, but if they're too spread out and I can't pull 4-5 at a time, it seems to take forever. But I ventured into Nagrand last night and started on the Hemet Nesingwary hunting quests which all start off with killing 20 of various types of animals. I could pull 5 at a time and DPS them down with little trouble. The exception was the the Clefthoofs which have a stun attack. Getting a few of those untimely chained becomes a bit scary.

In that case, I'd typically end up below 30% health after a pull and lacking a good healing ability, this was annoying but finally at 64, I got the Healing Sphere ability which serves for a pretty good out of combat heal. Technically, I suppose I could use it in combat, but it takes a lot of energy (60 to be precise). It also helps that there's been some ability I got (not sure exactly when) that makes me create little green healing spheres during combat. I'm not sure what's driving that (perhaps when I crit?), but they heal pretty well. Unfortunately, it means I have to be able to see them and on large enemies, or large groups, they're often inside them which means I have to run around aimlessly to happen upon them.

I have a strong suspicion that this is an intentional sort of annoyance however. As I noted in a previous post, the cone on Breath of Fire is annoyingly narrow. To use it effectively means having to do a lot of movement anyway to clump up enemies and get them in its effect. As such, the class as a whole seems to be centered on lots of minor movements, which fits the feel of a squirrely monk, flowing like a river or some such nonsense.

I did run another instance on my paladin last night. I still feel like their tanking is far superior, both from being able to get threat, but also their survivablity. I think the hope is that the Stagger ability will continue to mitigate more damage, making it easier to survive, and that the ability to shrug off that stagger DOT will effectively make monks have an active 20%+ mitigation. However, that skill to dump the damage doesn't come for another 10 levels. As such, it means I'm still taking the damage in the long haul.

The bigger problem I see is that the stagger DOT never gets to the level where the shrug off would really be important. There's three levels of Stagger: Green isn't bad. Yellow is like a real DOT from a strong enemy, and red is just pain. Well, supposedly. I've never gotten it to red and only on a few occasions has it gotten to yellow. As such, it's just not picking up that much of the damage.

There's ways to improve that. At level 80, it looks like I'll be getting a mastery which picks up a percentage, and Fortifying Brew dumps a big extra 20% in while active. I'm not sure how those will factor in just yet since I haven't gotten there, but I'm hoping those small bits will add up. My impression is that big bosses at endgame will push through enough damage to make Stagger pretty impressive, but right now, I just don't feel it.

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